Barbalunga says Berkshire County Sheriff Tom Bowler has didn’t ship over 12 years as race heats up

Alf Barbalunga is the Chief Probation Officer of the Southern Berkshire District Courtroom. It is the second-largest in Massachusetts, comprising 15 cities within the southwestern nook of the state. Now, the 50-year-old is difficult Berkshire County Sheriff Tom Bowler within the September sixth Democratic main. Bowler is in search of a 3rd six-year time period. Over 20 years in regulation enforcement, Barbalunga has labored for each the Berkshire and Suffolk County sheriffs’ places of work, and was the youngest and longest-serving president of the Massachusetts Chief Probation Officer Affiliation till he stepped down in Might. Barbalunga received the 2022 Chief Probation Officer Advocacy Award this spring. He tells WAMC that underneath Bowler’s management, the group is not seeing outcomes round training and remedy for detainees within the sheriff’s care — and that the workplace is overspending within the mistaken areas.

BARBALUNGA: In a pure world, that job needs to be strictly care and custody. I are available as an inmate or detainee to that workplace, I ought to go away nearly as good as I got here in, ideally higher. An actual low bar factor is, I ought to come again out alive. That is necessary for positive. And what does that appear like? If I am sentenced, versus being a detainee, or I am simply awaiting my day of justice, I needs to be afforded with remedy, training, whether or not that is a GED, healthcare points, psychological and bodily, and in addition ability units, as a result of 98% of those individuals, Josh, which might be stepping into are coming again out into our group. They don’t seem to be going to be going to a DOC facility for 5 years or longer, as much as life. These are on the most 30 months in. There’s some uncommon exceptions, however just about essentially the most, often rather a lot lower than that. They’re coming again out, they’ll be your colleagues, your neighbors, possibly an worker, possibly a supervisor. So we have to arm them with ability units to make them profitable and attempt to cut back that recidivism charge going again in- Particularly for the ladies, which you already know, I can contact upon somewhat bit later. That cash must be spent servicing these people, not an ancillary is subjects that are not charged to the sheriff. And that will be an instance of-Horse packages. That might be one thing we might discuss. Is that good worth being spent? Maybe it’s, maybe it isn’t. That is one thing we’ll dig into later. Hydroponic packages. Is that applicable, the sum of money we’re spending on that and the workers we’re spending? Maybe. That is one thing we’ll discuss later. However something that is in a roundabout way charged with the custody of the inmate detainee- And once more, that is maintaining the particular person inside as they need to be till they need to be launched, and in addition the care of what is occurring whereas they’re inside. Something apart from that deserves to be scrutinized, 100%. And, in our opinion, there must be some changes.

WAMC: You are working towards Sheriff Tom Bowler, a two-term incumbent within the function. What’s your evaluation of his management within the workplace up to now?

He was put to a police officer, a detective. [Bowler] was employed on the [Berkshire County] Home of Correction and Jail, I believe, [in] 2002, 2000 or 2002, a two yr interval. That might be off, but it surely’s shut. For causes solely recognized to him, possibly he’ll clarify later, he left. So I do not assume that displays nicely. He did not stick up there with administration. He went again to [the] Pittsfield PD. I believe he brings a robust regulation enforcement background, and as all the time, we’re all the time respectful for that. However basically, that is not the precise particular person for the job. We want progressive candidates that- This election right here, there needs to be six individuals working for it. 4 individuals the least. It is difficult that I am the one person who stepped up. It reveals somewhat bit in regards to the apathy basically, which is comprehensible. It additionally reveals simply, you already know, the vitriol and toxicity that goes into politics. Many individuals do not need to expose themselves. However extra troubling, for my part, it is the democracy right here. We’re coming from a tradition out right here that we encounter, that folks say – and once more, it is a message coming at me since 2015 – you do not need to run in a main until that is an open seat. That is not one thing you need to do, you do not need to tackle an incumbent. I strongly disagree. However that is what we’re coping with is, these individuals get in, they consider they’re anointed. The sheriff earlier than him was in for 32 consecutive years, I consider. It appears like Tom’s on the lookout for no less than 18 years, possibly extra. I do not know. That is his alternative. It isn’t my enterprise. However we discover that distressing. That is not how change occurs. That is not how effectivity occurs. I’ve already publicly said, I am going to self-impose time period limits if we had been honored sufficient to win. No one does that, however I strongly consider in it. In an ideal world, we may accomplish what we need to accomplish within the first six years. If not, two phrases most. However I believe he brings a regulation enforcement background, getting again to what you requested. With that, we’re off cost of what he is alleged to be doing: care and custody. And once more, you will see proper now we’re having quite a few media releases about what he will do and what he is desirous about doing and who he will be hiring. I am seeing an entire media blast and ads proper now about hiring these people, and that people, and that is nice stuff. However why is he compelled to do it now after having 12 years? When it will get to why he is managing like he’s, it isn’t a thriller. He comes from a regulation enforcement background.

So that you’re speaking about this method that Bowler’s bringing to the desk being closely knowledgeable by his time in regulation enforcement. What’s the distinction that you’d present to that method?

I am coming from probation. That is remedy. That is empathy. That is what we carry to the desk. That is restorative justice. It is an entire completely different platform. Once more, it will get again to, these individuals will probably be locally. Simply because there isn’t any scrutiny, this inhabitants doesn’t should be simply warehoused. That is actually what it will get right down to. After which within the eleventh hour, whenever you even have a candidate, that is once we begin rolling out what you are going to do. That is not applicable. When you haven’t any scrutiny, that is when it’s best to carry out your greatest. Not when you might have balloty, that is whenever you begin to poll up. And let’s get to one thing like that: The ladies. It is principally outrageous they had been shipped out to Hampden County. Now, that was an incredible transfer for Hampden County, for positive. Hampden County was constructing a cutting-edge ladies’s facility. The sheriff on the time, that sheriff was a rock star, beloved out all through Massachusetts. An amazing, nice program. However that wasn’t transfer for us. In that exact deal, that sheriff wanted X quantity of females coming in from across the state. And he made the calls to his sheriff colleagues and stated, you already know, that is what I have to get this constructing funded. And sadly for us, Tom Bowler agreed to that. Not deal for us on a number of fronts. One, these are ladies that at the moment are three hours spherical journey out of our space. Their family members cannot go to them. Their help companies, their attorneys- you already know, these are ladies which might be often on the final drawback in relation to legal justice to start with, and now they’re ripped out of their group. That is fairly distressing. And once more, there was no actual media publicity about that, or why are you doing that? And that is simply basically what occurs with that workplace. Folks aren’t dialed in as a result of it isn’t clear. And I perceive why it isn’t clear. In case you’re main that workplace with a few of that call making, why would you promote that? And secondly, as far again, I believe, in 2011, there was a reasonably huge lawsuit down in that facility that needed to do with, sadly, ladies down there being taken benefit of being video recorded in compromising conditions. Our sheriff knew right here knew about that, and continued, beginning 2014, sending ladies down there. So once more, he isn’t complicit with any of that conduct by workers there, however he knew about it. I might by no means have carried out that. We have made a pledge, if we’re honored sufficient to win, forthwith these ladies return in January. There’s an infrastructure up there to accommodate them. And I believe it is also insulting to the remedy professionals in Berkshire County. A part of their mantra on why we ship them out was that that sheriff in Hampden County would ship remedy service that Berkshire County could not accommodate. That is ridiculous. Now we have a number of the greatest remedy clinicians within the state right here. In order that was fairly insulting to them. And secondly, as I stated, we now have the room. It is the lowest depend within the historical past of the sheriff’s workplace with the very best worker depend ever.

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